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Old Mar 9, 2007, 9:02 PM   #1
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I am going to D. C. in a few weeks and will want to take some night pictures of the national monuments Lincoln,Jefferson etc. Since I am flying I will not be able to take a tripod. I have a Dslr camera and seem to get better results using manual mode and under exposing the shots at ISO 400 of lighted houses around my neighborhood. Anyone have any suggestions that I might be able to try? C. W.
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Old Mar 10, 2007, 8:50 PM   #2
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You have a bit of experience taking night shots of buildings so you have a head start!

1. Manual is a good place to start as metering may be dicey although spot metering on a lit subject may give you a place to start.

2. Use the histogram rather than relying on the view in the LCD. "Shoot to the right" trying to keep the "mountain" as far right as possible without touching the right side.

3. Try and brace the camera on something solid as you will be shooting with very slow shutter speeds. Hand holding will probably get you an Impressionistic look of blurred scenes which is fine for Van Gogh but terrible for photography!

4. Bracket your exposures, that is try various shutter speeds and apertures on the same scene. Some should turn out better than others.

5. Experiment with white balance settings. Light sources can range from incandescent, mercury vapour, sodium vapour, or whatever which will provide interesting results.
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Old Mar 11, 2007, 6:52 PM   #3
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Just out of curiosity, why can't you take a tripod. My Manfrotto 3021B pro with the 322RC2 head fits in my suitcase fine. Took it to Orlando when we flew there last fall and couldn't have taken the kind of shots you are talking about with out it. Great fireworks and shots at Disney World at night. Do you really need 4 pair of pants or can you get buy with 3? Just something to consider.

Suggestion #2. If you are staying at a particular hotel and already have reservations ship it there a couple of days before you leave. Let the hotel know, they will be glad to hold it for your arrival.
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Old Mar 11, 2007, 7:37 PM   #4
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BTW, make sure you read up on taking pictures in Washington DC area. I've read that they are really strict now and easily equate photographers with terrorists.

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Old Mar 12, 2007, 6:56 PM   #5
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I've had a lot of success without a tripod. I've always found somewhere solid that I can balance my camera on, and usually use a shirt to raise the lens a touch.

Once the camera is in position, set your exposure and use the self timer to trip the shutter - this avoids camera shake.

Sometimes it's a little tricky to get the camera lined up exactly where I want it, but I usually get close to what I was after, and then straighten & crop later in PS.

Hope this helps!


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